Today we had a glimpse of the crazy weather we’ve heard all about here in Cordoba when the heat starts cranking up. Outside of one massive rainstorm a few weeks ago, we’ve had gorgeous weather since August. Oddly enough, in Cordoba the winter is incredibly dry, while spring and summer tend to bring the bulk of this region’s precipitation. This afternoon was hot and muggy but otherwise beautiful. About 30 minutes before this storm the wind picked up and clouds rolled in. We could hear a massive roaring sound and realized what was coming just a few minutes before it arrived. The windows in a car parked outside our house shattered, and we has some minor damage and flooding. Trees on the street look shredded of branches and leaves. Mother Nature impresses again.
This past Saturday we hosted a Halloween party for the kids and their friends. October 24th was Erica and Ben’s birthday so even more reason to throw a party! Erica went all out on this one and created fun games and invitations for the kids to hand out at school. The kids had fun drawing their own Halloween decorations and taping them up around the house, and we borrowed some awesome decorations from our friend Gaby. Trick or Treating door-to-door isn’t common in our barrio so it was a fun experience for a lot of the kids. Apparently the invite was a hot ticket at the boys school, since we heard a few stories of 6th grade girls sneaking in. It was a lot of fun to see the kids show up in their costumes (some arriving on the back of scooter with their parent). I manned the gate and had lots of beso practice with the kids and padres. I’m pretty good at the various forms of greeting in Spanish now. Erica had the kids bobbing for apples, trick or treating inside the house, and of course eating alfajores off strings. Check out the video for evidence. Since RSVP’ing isn’t too popular here, we had no idea on attendance, but we’re guessing 60 kids showed up. It was absolute chaos, the house was a mess, but it was great to see all the kids having a great time. Often parents simply drop their kids off for parties and return at the designated hour. I think we had a number of parents stay this time since there’s a level of curiosity about who we are and what the hell we’re doing here. A number of the kids brought gifts for the kids. All three received some version of perfume, deodrant, or cologne. Elliott thinks that the girl that gave him the deoderant spray might be trying to send him a message. Needless to say, our house tends to smell a bit different now.
A photo montage from our weekend trip to La Cumbre a few weeks ago and a trip to Villa General Belgrano for the day yesterday. La Cumbre is located to the north of Cordoba in the Central Sierras and is famous for paragliding and the Cristo Redentor statue. Yesterday we managed to visit VGB for one of the final days of Fiesta National de la Cerveza, otherwise known as Oktoberfest. Villa General Belgrano is located south of Cordoba. We’ve had some fun playing with a map program recently to document our travel, but we can’t quite figure out yet how to embed it nicely into the blog. Until then, here is the link!!
Viernes 04 de octubre: A busy day in the life
7:30 AM: Up and at ’em! Coffee on, check email, FB and a few hotel options in BA for an upcoming trip. Solo breakfast of left-over cornmeal pancakes, fried steak and egg before chaos ensues.
8:00 AM: Chaos ensues when waking the kids for the day. A Molly no le gusta la manana. Shades open and breakfast requests made. The kids have morning and night checklists now for basic stuff. They include getting dressed and making beds before breakfast among other duties. $5 pesos can be earned daily for compliance. Screaming and yelling follows when Molly realizes she’s supposed to wear her swimsuit under her clothes today for daycare. Friday is pool day! Molly’s preference is to wear no clothing at all, so the idea of a tight suit under clothes is unbearable. Molly loses screen time today.
9:00 AM: Daddy bolts for Spanish class. The boys begin their morning tutoring and homework with Erica despite Molly’s tortured wails. The school that Erica and I take Spanish lessons at is a 20 minute walk from the house.
9:30 AM-12:30 PM: Today my twice weekly class seems so tranquil after the crazy morning. One-on-one with the teacher leaves me exhausted after 3 hours. Today we work on reflexive and irregular verbs. Erica walks Molly 2 blocks up to her daycare. Drop-off has been going well for the week, but today started out rough, so she cries. Daddy usually drops her off as a result. Elliott works on science and Ben on math today. We’re using a variety of home school books, but primarily the What Your XXXX Grader Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. The 3 strikes rule is working better for curbing freak-outs during this time each day. Afterwards the boys entertain themselves by watching some baby pigeons in the backyard try to fly.
12:30 PM-1:30 PM: Erica picks up Molly from daycare, and she had fun! Today was the first day she decided to actually swim. Erica feeds the kids lunch and gets the boys ready for school. I finish up class and step out to catch a bus downtown. We need money so time to visit the money guy. The process of getting money in Argentina is a whole other post someday on its own! I wait for the nicer, diferencial bus for the 20 minute ride to Centro. Erica starts walking about 1pm with the kids to school (the walk to school takes about 25 minutes with the kids) but runs into Elliott’s friend’s mother, who gives the boys a ride. Bonus since now Molly can have a nap!!
2:00 PM-3:30 PM: After Molly’s nap Erica walks to the school kiosko to volunteer as kids scream in candy orders rapidly in Spanish during each recess. Molly tags along today. The kiosko is solely staffed by the equivalent of the PTA and raises money for the school. We think incorporating a small shop that sells vast quantities of soda and candy to kids during the school day at Beach School back in North Portland would go over well. After 3 previous trips to the office downtown where I pick up money I finally remember the correct bus stop. Downtown during siesta is packed but my sense of direction is improving in Centro and find the office with little problems. After a little chit-chat I descend the elevator with a large wad of pesos on my person. Since we are planning a trip to Uruguay and Buenos Aires soon, I stop in across the street at the local Buquebus office to purchase 5 roundtrip ferry/bus tickets using my newly acquired pesos. Fortunately they’re open despite siesta! This takes longer than expected, but after an hour I leave with our tickets and exhausted after 3 hours of class plus an hour speaking completely in Spanish with the ticket agent.
3:30 PM-4:00 PM: Before the bus ride back to our barrio, I stop in a La Tasca near San Martin Square for a bite to eat. Little old men in bright red coats are servers, and seem to outnumber the customers. I thoroughly enjoy a Quilmes beer and small pizza complete with the hearts of palm that seem to be on every pizza I end up with.
5:00 PM: After short wait for another diferencial bus, I’m back where I started get off about 6 blocks from the boys school. I walk up and relieve Erica of Molly’s company at the kiosko, if only for a short time before school’s out at 5:30. Molly and I head back home, first stopping at the corner toy school to load up on a few birthday presents for the coming weekend and 3 scheduled parties. We all end up back home about the same time.
6:30 PM: Manuel (neighbor and rugby coach) honks and the boys race out the door to rugby practice. Manuel is a saint and Elliott’s become good friends with his son, Santi. My beautiful wife brings me a gin & tonic as I start on our dinner of fettuccine with squash, arugula and lemon!
9:30 PM: Boys return and chow down. We all devour the remains of a pint of Bariloche helado for dessert when plates are cleaned. The boys escape showers since they have a game in the morning and kids are in bed by 10pm. 1 kid out of 3 earns $5 pesos today.
Rinse and repeat